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Folks describe harrowing tales of escape from lethal landslide in Venezuela

Rescue staff utilizing drones and skilled canines looked for survivors Monday following an enormous landslide in central Venezuela, because the dying toll rose to 34 and residents described harrowing tales of escape from the water and dust.

Jose Medina recalled how the water streaming into his house within the city of Las Tejerias on Saturday evening had reached waist degree. He and his household had been trapped, he realized.

So the 63-year-old turned his fridge sideways, opened its door and used it as a ship for his granddaughter. In the meantime, he held on to the fridge along with his spouse, and pinned it to a desk in order that the robust currents of water wouldn’t push them downstream.

Medina described their survival as a “miracle.”

“I am comfortable that we’re alive however I am additionally unhappy,” mentioned the retired development employee who misplaced his house and all of his belongings.

Rescuers carry a fabric bag, holding the physique of a kid who was killed within the landslide. (Matias Delacroix/The Related Press)

Streets blocked by mud

His plight started when torrential rains brought on by Hurricane Julia unleashed mudslides and floods that destroyed a number of mountainside neighbourhoods in Las Tejerias.

On Monday, Venezuelan officers mentioned a minimum of 34 individuals died within the flooding and 60 are lacking following the worst pure catastrophe to hit the cash-strapped South American nation in recent times.

In Las Tejerias, a metropolis of fifty,000 individuals positioned alongside Venezuela’s important industrial hall, crews had been utilizing heavy equipment to clear particles from neighbourhoods whose streets had been nonetheless blocked with mud. 

“We’re nonetheless hoping to seek out individuals that may be saved” mentioned Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez as she toured one of many neighbourhoods affected by the mudslides.

Several young people surround an older person, with their arms extended around their shoulder.
The flooding and slides had been triggered by Hurricane Julia. (Matias Delacroix/The Related Press)

Venezuelan authorities mentioned 317 properties in Las Tejerias had been worn out by the mudslide and one other 750 properties sustained injury.

Residents mentioned they solely had minutes to depart their properties late Saturday, because the avalanche of mud, rocks and tree logs swept over a number of hillside neighbourhoods within the metropolis.

Some individuals had been praying at an evangelical church when the mudslide occurred, whereas others had been at a kids’s occasion, residents mentioned. A number of kids are among the many lacking.

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro on Sunday declared three days of mourning for the victims and despatched rescue staff to Las Tejerias, which lies alongside a freeway that connects Caracas to the economic metropolis of Valencia. Maduro mentioned that 11 states within the nation sustained injury from floods over the weekend.

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